Ecological Monitoring Field Technician, Great Basin Institute

Las Vegas, NV

Position Title: Ecological Monitoring Field Technician

Organization: Great Basin Institute

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Organization Overview:  The Great Basin Institute is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and service through the west. The Institute’s mission is to advance applied science and ecological literacy through community engagement and agency partnerships, supporting national parks, forest, open spaces and public lands.

The Ecological Monitoring Program at GBI serves as an excellent professional development opportunity for natural resource professionals looking for experience in botanical, soil, and rangeland surveys. This Program is a component of our well-established Research Associate Program, which focuses on the conservation and management of natural, cultural, and recreation resources in the Intermountain West while providing emerging professionals opportunities to begin or enhance their careers.

GBI’s Ecological Monitoring Program is dedicated to providing college graduates and emerging professionals with hands-on survey, inventory, monitoring, and reporting experience in natural resource management. Extensive training and technical field skills development provides employees a unique opportunity to obtain valuable experience in executing monitoring protocols that will increase their employment success.

In one component of the Program, participants implement the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy for terrestrial systems, targeted at collecting standardized ecological information and long-term vegetation data at multiple scales across western BLM districts. In some instances participants may perform supplemental protocols such as Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) (to inform conservation approaches for sage-grouse). Supplemental sampling may also include collecting data on forb diversity, annual production and pollinators, among other indicators.

Position Overview: GBI is recruiting Ecological Monitoring Vegetation Field Technicians to work with GBI and BLM staff. Each Field Tech will work with one other technician under the supervision of a Field Lead to characterize vegetation using the terrestrial AIM core methods. In some instances, Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF), and/or other supplemental protocols will be performed, for which training will be provided. Aside from core AIM sampling, any supplemental protocols implemented will vary by project.

Duties include following established field protocols to perform vegetation sampling and field data collection at new and existing sampling plots. Data will be used by resource specialists and land managers to inform decisions regarding land management at various temporal and spatial scales. During field work, car camping for 7 night “hitches” in remote locations will typically be required.

Depending on performance and completion of work term this position can qualify for Public Lands Corps (PLC) status given that the applicant is 30 years old or younger at the time of GBI employment. This certificate allows for non-competitive status for future federal job applications and will last two years from the end of GBI employment.

Duties:

Field work will include:
• Maintaining safety awareness and practices;
• Extensive 4×4 driving on unmaintained roads;
• Navigating off-trail to sampling sites;
• Establishing sampling plots and transects;
• Collecting vegetation data (including species inventory, forb diversity, species abundance, sagebrush shape, foliar cover, canopy gap, and herbaceous and woody heights); and
• Taking photo-points.

Additional duties include:
• Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff;
• Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
• Entering data into both Field Maps and Survey 123 software;
• Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys; and
• Employing extensive QA/QC data checks.

Qualifications:
Experience, education, or a combination in botany and/or range management to meet the following:

• Bachelor’s degree in botany, biology, ecology, or rangeland ecology or other natural resources.
• At least 9 semester hours in plant or biological sciences.

AND/OR

• A minimum of 1 year field data collection identifying plants.

Technical requirements:
•  Coursework or equivalent experience in plant taxonomy and/or systematics;
•  Experience identifying plants in the field and using a dichotomous key;
•  Experience conducting plant surveys using various monitoring protocols, including standard rangeland monitoring protocols, photo plots, and site observations;
•  Experience with data entry and management;
•  Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps;
•  Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads;
•  Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
•  Experience creating maps and performing basic functions with GIS software (ArcMap), preferred;
•  Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access); and
•  Experience with Field Maps, Survey 123, and ArcGIS Online.

Additional requirements:
•  Willingness and ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic setting, and to consistently enact high performance standards and a strong work and team ethic in support of the goals and objectives of the AIM program and the mission of GBI;
•  Valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record;
•  Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the sampling area and associated natural resource issues preferred;
•  Ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals;
•  Ability to work independently;
•  Ability to communicate effectively with team members, agency staff, and a diverse public;
•  Excellent organizational skills;
•  Familiarity with best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles;
• Experience in and willingness to spend up to seven consecutive nights camping with no amenities in remote locations;
•  Flexibility with position location within field district offices
•  Willingness to work irregular hours (e.g., early mornings, late nights); and
•  Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, work in all types of weather conditions, traverse uneven terrain, carry upwards of 40 pounds in a backpack, and otherwise maintain good physical condition.

Start/End Dates: February 15 to October 6

Salary/Pay: $18-$20 per hour depending on experience

Application Deadline: Open until filled

How to Apply: To apply, please visit the Great Basin Institutes website

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